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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Somali Peacekeeping Mission to Go Ahead Despite Current Troop Shortfall

Check back with ETP for more news throughout the day

Also in the news: [Producer of 'YEtechekonu KeLdoch' arrested] - [Military Rule?] - [UN Security Council cuts troop levels in Eritrea-Ethiopia peacekeeping mission] - [Somalia: Mortars Fired At an Ethiopian Base, Several Injured] - [NPR: Saving the World in Ethiopia]

International: [First bird flu death in Nigeria] - [Bush Says Invading Iran 'Not the Plan'] - [Germany seeks 13 over CIA 'kidnap'] - [British Police Arrest 8 in Alleged Kidnapping Plot] - [Cuban TV Airs New Castro Images] - [Best-selling author Sidney Sheldon dead at 89]and more of today's top stories!

In the U.S, Canada, Australia and Europe; Ethiopians are preparing for mass demonstrations to bring to the world’s attention the plight of Human rights activists, journalists and opposition party leaders who are unjustly incarcerated by the government of Ethiopia
The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
Amnesty International USA

"Peaceful Resistance and Civil Disobedience as Treason: Sustained Crackdown on Dissent in Ethiopia"


Producer of 'YEtechekonu KeLdoch' arrested

(Ethio-ZagoL): The attack on free speech by the EPRDF continues unabated. Daniel Fisseha, executive producer of "Oppressed Jokes", was arrested on Saturday. "Oppresssed Jokes", the brilliant collection of works of stand-up comedy, had become instant hit in the country last year.

The jokes by up and coming comedians focused on social and political issues, including satires on the personality and rule of Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia's dictator. Art critics considered the collection as the first of its kind in the country in content and form. (Source)

See video Clips from YETechekonu KeldoCH:

-Clip 1 - Meles Interview
-Clip 2 - Eritrea Propaganda
-Clip 3 - Palace guards

Military Rule?
Lewit, from Addis Abeba

Today Addis truly reflects the virtual police state in which we live. Over the past week thousands of federal policemen have descended upon the city for the AU summit and, while this may help to ease the fears of the most corrupt African leaders visiting from abroad, residents here feel anything but safe.

I have never seen the city like this—a comparable number of forces were deployed during Meskel (but concentrated entirely around the Square), but the atmosphere now feels even more oppressive due to their overwhelming omnipresence.

Under the watch of conspicuous rooftop snipers, federal and military wagons currently rule the roads, spilling out dozens upon dozens of blue-clad, heavily armed soldiers at a moment’s notice. These policemen are literally EVERYWHERE, waiting with guns cocked outside retaurants and cafes, schools and churches, in abandoned lots and on crowded corners, both on the main streets and side roads.(More...)

UN Security Council cuts troop levels in Eritrea-Ethiopia peacekeeping mission

UNITED NATIONS - The Security Council voted Tuesday to reduce the peacekeeping mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea from 2,300 troops to 1,700, expressing disappointment in the stalled process to draw the border between the feuding Horn of Africa neighbors.

The 15-member council unanimously approved extending the mission in the tense 620-mile-long buffer zone for another six months.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the extension last week, warning that another war could break out between the two countries if progress is not urgently made on the peace process.

Ban said resumed fighting would risk destabilizing the entire region, given the precarious security situation in neighboring Somalia, where African leaders are trying to muster an 8,000-member African Union peacekeeping force. (More...)

Somalia: Mortars Fired At an Ethiopian Base, Several Injured

Unknown gunmen fired several missiles at the Ethiopian military base in El-arfid, a settlement on the edge of north of the capital Mogadishu, on Tuesday night. At least three huge explosions could be heard in some parts of the capital last night.

Witnesses told Shabelle that a group of unknown armed men reportedly riding in a car has fired at least three mortars at the Ethiopian military barrack that lies between El-arfid and Darmoley, settlements, about 10 km south of the capital.(More...)

[NPR] Saving the World in Ethiopia: One Child at a Time

...One of the patients, Fantan Dere, is a young girl unsure of her age. She tells nurse Bethlehem Tesfaye that she may be 10, but the nurse thinks it's more likely Fantan is 12.

Fantan says she has been married for four years; marriages happen at a very early age for girls in rural Ethiopia. But they usually aren't consummated until the girl is ready to conceive. Fantan didn't live with her husband until two years ago. In July, she went into labor with her first child. She was in labor for three days before she was taken to a hospital in Dessie. By then, the baby had died and Fantan was severely injured.(More...)

Somali Peacekeeping Mission Will Go Ahead Despite Current Troop Shortfall

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia Jan 31, 2007 (AP)— Three battalions of peacekeepers from Uganda and Nigeria are ready to be deployed in Somalia and will be airlifted in as soon as possible, a senior AU official said Wednesday.

The African Union was pressing ahead with its peacekeeping mission to Somalia despite securing only half the 8,000 troops needed at a key summit of African leaders that ended Tuesday. The hope is the African force will prevent a routed Islamic movement from taking advantage of a power vacuum created by the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces who have been supporting Somalia's internationally recognized government. (More...)

Best-selling author Sidney Sheldon dead at 89

Sidney Sheldon, who enjoyed very successful careers in cinema, theatre, and later television before turning to fiction and becoming a spectacularly popular novelist, has died in Los Angeles following complications from pneumonia. He was 89.

Sheldon, who was born in Chicago in 1917, sold his first written work at the tender age of 10, securing $10 for a poem. After trying a variety of jobs during the Depression, he found his first Hollywood job as a script reader at the age of 17, while writing his own screenplays at night. He also enjoyed precocious success on another coast, in another medium, at one time having three musicals on Broadway: a rewritten The Merry Widow, Jackpot and Dream with Music.(More..)

Today's Top Stories

-First bird flu death in Nigeria
-Bush Says Invading Iran 'Not the Plan'
-US money is 'squandered' in Iraq
-Germany seeks 13 over CIA 'kidnap'
-British Police Arrest 8 in Alleged Kidnapping Plot
-Cuban TV Airs New Castro Images
-Berlusconi's Wife Demands His Apology
-Town to immigrants: you can't kill women


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

February 19

Also in the news: [ETHIOPIA: Journalist sent back to prison over libel case dating back to 2002] - [Torture in the prisons of Ethiopia] - [Somali extremists post video warning to peacekeepers] - [Somali government to impose curfew, as forceful disarmament is due to begin] - [Ghadafi brings in cars, gold as present for leaders] - [Timely novel sheds light on chaotic Somalia] - [African leaders mull Somali force]

International: [Millions to go hungry, waterless: climate report] - [Attacks on Shiite pilgrims kill 38 in Iraq] - [Russians Used Photo of Litvinenko for Target Practice] - [Neolithic site found near England's Stonehenge] - ["Smile Jamaica" Marley's sons to hold concert for peace] and more of today's top stories!

Libya's President Muammar al-Gaddafi is escorted by his (female) bodyguards after the morning session of the African Union Summit of Heads of States in the United Nations office in Addis Ababa January 30, 2007. REUTERS/Andrew Heavens

The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
Amnesty International USA

"Peaceful Resistance and Civil Disobedience as Treason: Sustained Crackdown on Dissent in Ethiopia"


February 19

ETP: A world wide campaign is in the works this February, to appeal for the release of prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia.

In the U.S, Canada, Australia and Europe; Ethiopians are preparing for mass demonstrations to bring to the world’s attention the plight of Human rights activists, journalists and opposition party leaders who are incarcerated for exercising their right to free speech.

Everyone that wishes to see democracy blossom in Ethiopia has an obligation to be involved in this campaign.

Participate in the demonstrations; Call and send your letters of appeal to governments of donor countries as well as the government of Ethiopia ( Prime Minister's office), The American Embassy in Ethiopia, European Commission in Ethiopia, etc..

February 19 is sentencing day for prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia; let’s work together to make that day the beginning of true justice, reconciliation, peace and unity.
-Visit the Action Center, see how you can help!

Also read:

ETHIOPIA: Journalist sent back to prison over libel case dating back to 2002

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the Ethiopian supreme court’s decision on 26 January to reject an appeal by journalist Abraham Reta of the privately-owned weekly Addis Admas and send him back to prison to complete the one-year sentence he received in May 2006 for allegedly libelling three senior officials.

We will not be able to talk of press freedom in Ethiopia as long as heavy prison sentences are been handed down in such an abnormal manner on journalists whom the government sees fit to classify as opposition members,” the press freedom organisation said. “A way must be quickly found to release all the journalists who are in prison. Detaining part of the press and making the other part live in fear of being detained will only aggravate the general situation.” (More...)

Somali extremists post video warning to peacekeepers

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Extremists in Somalia warned on Tuesday they would try and kill any peacekeepers deployed to the country, a sign of further instability and unrest in the war-ravaged nation.

In a videotape posted on the official Web site of Somalia's routed Islamic movement, a hooded gunman read a statement saying that any African peacekeepers would be seen as invaders.

The video warning comes as African leaders met in neighboring Ethiopia to discuss the deployment of 8,000 peacekeepers to Somalia. So far only three nations -- Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi -- have pledged around 4,000 troops.

"Somalia is not a place where you will earn a salary -- it is a place where you will die," one militant, carrying an assault rifle and dressed in military fatigues, said in the warning to the peacekeepers. "The salary you are seeking will be used to transport your bodies." Five other hooded gunmen were visible, armed with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.(More...)

Ghadafi brings in cars, gold as present for leaders

(capital) Libyan leader Muamar Ghadafi has brought in 15 cars and two bags full of gold as gifts for African heads of states who are expected to participate in the 8th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, scheduled to open tomorrow, Monday, January 29th.

The two bags of gold are kept in a room at the airport awaiting consent from Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Sources from Bole International Airport disclosed that the two bags of gold have been seized to check on the legality of bringing gold into the country. Ghadafi is noted for engaging in very controversial ventures in the past.

He has also been pushing for many years to have the headquarters of the African Union shifted from Addis Ababa to the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Somali government to impose curfew on the country as forceful disarmament is due to begin

Somali prime minister Ali Mohammed Gedi, who delivered a brief speech to the parliament today, has announced that a curfew will be imposed on the country generally despite the State of Emergency, which has had little affect in the country’s security situation.

He said there will be curfew on the country soon to secure the stability and peace in the country. “The parliament and the government will impose a curfew on the country and you will hear today the time the curfew will be affective,” he said, adding that people should abide by the laws and cooperate with government security forces.(More...)

Timely novel sheds light on chaotic Somalia

Nuruddin Farah's new novel "Knots" about roots, returning and regeneration -- a tale of hope set against a backdrop of seeming hopelessness.

A family catastrophe in Canada prompts Cambara, a strong-willed Somali exile, to return to reclaim her family property in war-torn Mogadiscio (the Italian spelling of the city Mogadishu used by the author) from a warlord.

In the process she finds unexpected love, befriends a jovial Irishman, a resourceful shopkeeper and some female peace activists among others, and manages to stage a play -- while throwing a couple of karate kicks along the way. (More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Torture in the prisons of Ethiopia
-African leaders mull Somali force
-Millions to go hungry, waterless: climate report
-Attacks on Shiite pilgrims kill 38 in Iraq
-Report: Russians Used Photo of Litvinenko for Target Practice
-Neolithic site found near England's Stonehenge
-"Smile Jamaica" Marley's sons to hold concert for peace
-2006 Sets Global Tourism Record
-Thieves happier than police?


Monday, January 29, 2007

Darfur, Somalia To Top Agenda At African Union Summit in Addis

Also in the news: [Ethiopian teachers union fights to survive] - [AU chooses Ghana over Sudan] - [U.S military officials: Somalia may 'revert to chaos']

International: [U.S.-Backed Troops Kill 300 Cult Members] - [Suicide bomber kills 3 in Israel] - [Vista ready for consumers] - [Chavez Denies Plans to Seize Property] - [Breaking down Colts Vs. Bears] and more of today's top stories!

Courtesy of abugidainfo

-[Audio] Dr. Yacob Hailemariam's Message from Kaliti, narrated by
'Free prisoners of conscience' Action Center

Darfur, Somalia To Top Agenda At African Union Summit

The chairman of the African Union (AU) stressed on Monday at the opening of a heads of state summit that "chaos" will ensue in Somalia if a peacekeeping mission isn't deployed soon to the Horn of Africa country.

Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare, who was opening the eighth AU summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday, said some 4,000 troops have already been offered out of a planned 8,000-strong deployment.

"If African troops are not deployed quickly, there will be chaos," Konare said, speaking to some 30 African heads of state as well as foreign leaders and diplomats.

Konare also said that if the fighting in Sudan's Darfur region isn't stopped, the entire region could be destabilized. (More...)

Also see:
-The presidential parade: Meskel Square
-Getting ready for Gaddafi: Meskel Square
-"Well that was a dynamic question": Meskel Square

Ethiopian teachers union fights to survive

On 14 December, Ethiopian Teachers’ Association (ETA) activist Ayalew was detained without a warrant by the Ethiopian government. Ayalew has reportedly been tortured and denied medical treatment while in police custody.

His relatives and fellow ETA members are now extremely worried, as they have not known either his health condition nor his whereabouts since 18 December. Another activist, Mengistu, disappeared on 15 December.

For fifteen years the Ethiopian government has been attempting to dismantle Ethiopia’s trade union movement and the ETA has been at the sharp end of this repression. (More...)

African Union chooses Ghana over Sudan

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - The African Union chose Ghana to head the 53-member bloc Monday, turning aside Sudan's bid for the second year in a row because of the worsening bloodshed in Darfur.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had opened the summit with a call on African leaders to end the deadlock created by Sudan's refusal to allow U.N. peacekeepers into the violence-wracked region in western Sudan.

Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu also sharply criticized Sudan, and an aid group said it was pulling out of Darfur because it was unsafe.(More...)

U.S military officials: Somalia may 'revert to chaos'

According to the spokesperson, Islamic fighters "are coming back to Mogadishu. They're destabilising sections of the city. They're attacking police stations".

Doha - United States military officials say Somalia could return to chaos in four months if international peacekeepers don't quickly replace departing Ethiopian troops - now propping up the country's weak government.

A Somali government spokesperson echoed the warning on Sunday, saying Islamic fighters were regrouping and the US-backed transitional government lacked troops, training and weapons to deal with them. (More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Najaf battle foiled, U.S.-Backed Troops Kill 300 Members of Cult
-Prince Charles chats, shoots baskets with New York schoolchildren
-Suicide bomber kills 3 in Israel bakery
-Cocaine is king on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast
-Chavez Denies Plans to Seize Property
-Vista ready for consumers
-Breaking down Colts Vs. Bears
-No wine or women, China warns its Olympics officials


Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Week in Review

Look for the 'The Week in Review' segment below

'Free prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia' Action Center

Professor Yacob Hailemariam’s LETTER FROM KALITY JAIL, addressed to the people of Ethiopia and the federal judges overseeing the case.

Gunmen attack Somali police stations

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Gunmen attacked a Somali police station Sunday, sparking an hourlong battle that killed two people just hours after two other stations were hit with machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades, witnesses said.

The increased violence in Mogadishu is boosting fears that the Somali government's tenuous grip on power isn't enough to safeguard this notoriously violent city.

"The gunmen ran away after reinforcements arrived to help the police," said Ifah Ahmed Ali, who witnessed the attack Sunday in northern Mogadishu. Late Saturday, gunmen attacked two police stations, wounding five people.(More...)

The Week in Review

  • Monday - January 22, 2007

  • [Assassins attack commander of Ethiopian troops in central Somalia] - [Witnesses: Ethiopian Troops Kill civilians ] - [Key Somali Islamist surrenders in Kenya] - [Kinijit LA: EPRDF’s Attempt to Disseminate It’s Propaganda Failed Miserably] - [Ethiopia's foreign minister meets Somali president in Mogadishu] - [Stand up comedy in Ethiopia]

  • Wednesday - January 24, 2007

  • [U.S. launches new air strike on Somalia] - [Defections continue as political dissent remains a crime in Ethiopia] - [Mortars hit Somalia's international airport] - [Ethiopia to stay in Somalia until AU force arrives, says Meles] - [U.S. ambassador, top Somali Islamist meet] - [Israel health ministry: Ethiopian blood donation will no longer be discarded]- [Kapuscinski writer of "The Emperor" ( a book that critics the last days of Emperor Haile Selassie) dies in Warsaw]

  • Thursday - January 25, 2007

  • [Somalia government to negotiate with Islamists] - [A Neo-Liberal Straw-man Binds This Book] - [African leaders to restate support to 2010 World Cup] - [Saving Ethiopia's Forest — And Its Women]

  • Friday - January 26, 2007

  • [Reuters: New wave of violence shakes Mogadishu as the bloodshed continues unabated] - [ICG: Somalia - The Tough Part Is Ahead] - [South Africa says no troops for Somalia] - [Ethiopian Supermodel Raises Money for African Village Women]

Friday, January 26, 2007

Reuters: New wave of violence shakes Mogadishu as the bloodshed continues unabated

Also in the news: [ICG: Somalia - The Tough Part Is Ahead] - [South Africa says no troops for Somalia] - [Ethiopian Supermodel Raises Money for African Village Women]

International: [Severe hunger looms for Zimbabwe] - [U.S. troops allowed to kill Iranians plotting attacks in Iraq] - [Hollywood stars choose between Clinton, Obama] - [Suicide blast rocks Pakistani luxury hotel] - [Delayed convict steals car to get back to jail] and more of today's top stories!

Professor Yacob Hailemariam’s LETTER FROM KALITY JAIL, addressed to the people of Ethiopia and the federal judges overseeing the case.

Resolution supporting urgent lobbying and vigil campaigns concerning Feb 19 2007 (sentencing day for Kinijit leaders, human right defenders and journalists)

New wave of violence shakes Mogadishu as the bloodshed continues unabated

A Somali woman is wheeled into the Medina hospital after being wounded by a mortar shell after a mortar attack.(AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Mortars hit a Mogadishu residential area and two men were shot dead overnight in the latest violence in a city the Somali government is struggling to pacify after the ouster of hardline Islamists.

In neighboring Kenya -- where some defeated Islamist fighters have fled -- five young men of Somali origin carrying U.S., French, Tunisian and Syrian passports were arrested at the border, local newspapers reported.

In what looked like a targeted killing in the lawless Somali capital, a man was blindfolded and shot dead late on Thursday in Mogadishu's Tarbuunka Square, witnesses said.

"Three men came out of a vehicle holding a blindfolded man. They shot him then drove away," said a resident who saw the assassination. The other man was shot in Bakara market, residents said. Details of both incidents were murky.(More...)

Also see: Amid chaos, young Somalis struggle to get by

Somalia: The Tough Part Is Ahead

the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines the situation since Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces and Ethiopian troops drove the Council of Somali Islamic Courts (CSIC) from power in December 2006

Somalia’s Islamic Courts fell even more dramatically than they rose. In little more than a week in December 2006, Ethiopian and Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces killed hundreds of Islamist fighters and scattered the rest in a lightning offensive. On 27 December, the Council of Somali Islamic Courts in effect dissolved itself, surrendering political leadership to clan leaders.

This was a major success for Ethiopia and the U.S. who feared emergence of a Taliban-style haven for al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremists, but it is too early to declare an end to Somalia’s woes. There is now a political vacuum across much of southern Somalia, which the ineffectual TFG is unable to fill.

Elements of the Courts, including Shabaab militants and their al-Qaeda associates, are largely intact and threaten guerrilla war. Peace requires the TFG to be reconstituted as a genuine government of national unity but the signs of its willingness are discouraging. Sustained international pressure is needed. (More...)

South Africa says no troops for Somalia

South Africa will not send peacekeepers to war-torn Somalia but will consider other avenues of support, officials say. The decision was announced by Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota after discussing the matter with President Thabo Mbeki.

There had been concerns that another peacekeeping mission would strain the country's defense resources, the Shaybelle Network said. South Africa currently is involved in similar missions in other parts of Africa.

Lekota said he supported the view of the African Union and the United Nations that there was a need for a strong peacekeeping force in Somalia. But, South Africa's force is already over-extended and other ways will be sought to help Somalia, he said. (More...)

Ethiopian Supermodel Raises Money for African Village Women

Jan. 26, 2007 With her good looks, the 28-year-old Ethiopian knockout is one of the fashion world's "it" girls and the first black woman chosen as the face of Estee Lauder.

Despite her wild success, Kebede is not content to simply grace the catwalks and live in luxury. Instead, she's now focusing on the poor African villages she left behind. "For me, Ethiopia is such a nice place.

I mean, really, it was such a nice place to grow up," she said. "It's a really poor country and it's very sad that's such a poor country, but the people are so proud, also." (More...) [Learn About Liya Kebede's Foundation]

Today's Top Stories

-Severe hunger looms for Zimbabwe
-U.S. troops allowed to kill Iranians plotting attacks in Iraq
-Hollywood stars choose between Clinton, Obama
-Indonesia offered to moderate Hamas-Fatah talks
-3 Dead, Scores Injured as Opposition Paralyzes Lebanon
-Suicide blast rocks Pakistani luxury hotel
-Delayed convict steals car to get back to jail
-Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Hitting China


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Gunmen Attack Ethiopian Soldiers In Somalia, Killing one

Also in the news: [Somalia government to negotiate with Islamists] - [A Neo-Liberal Straw-man Binds This Book] - [African leaders to restate support to 2010 World Cup] - [Saving Ethiopia's Forest — And Its Women]

International: [$7.6 Billion Raised For Lebanon] - [Russian man caught trying to sell nuclear-bomb uranium in a plastic bag from his jacket pocket] - [Ford Loss in 2006 Largest in its 103-Year History] - [Father Kills Daughter; Doubted Virginity] and more of today's top stories!

EACA: 'Retract the John Thompson Legacy of A Dream Award' (Letter to the President of Georgetown University, John J. DeGioia)

A Neo-Liberal Straw-man Binds This Book

The following article takes a critical look at the synopsis of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s Dead Ends and New Beginnings for Africa”. the writer's name has been withheld upon request. He argues that the developmental state theory is simply a pretext for the Revolutionary Democrats’ continuous rule in Ethiopia, perhaps for the next half century.

Anyone who has a full time job, and I would suggest that Prime Minister of Ethiopia counts, is to be congratulated on being able to produce written work on the side, even if it is related to their employment. I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on the industriousness he has shown in completing the preliminary draft of his PhD thesis and future book.

Although it is not a completed work, it has been publicly circulating through media such as the Walta Information Centre and prompted a lot of comments. The concepts in this paper formed the basis of much of the ‘training’ for senior officials in Adama (Nazareth) a short time ago.

The main thrust of the thesis is to argue against the neo-liberal agenda, and to present an alternative which buttresses the role of the state in the economy. It also connects this economic argument to a broader social and political analysis, arguing that ‘democracy,’ defined in a way which I shall be returned to, is also a good thing for development and that social forces have to be organized to support rather than thwart economic development.(More...)

Saving Ethiopia's Forest — And Its Women

[Picture - Ethiopian orphans Maselech Mercho, left, and Mulunesh Eshetu gather wood illegally. If they fail to bribe forest guards, they are often beaten or raped]

Since she was 6 years old, Maselech Mercho has hiked up into the lush Entoto hills near Addis Ababa to gather wood, illegally, from the protected eucalyptus forests. She has no tools but her hands, so she pulls the branches she can reach, and carries out some 65 pounds of firewood on her back.

For her efforts, Maselech may earn a bit less than $1 in the local market, which she uses for food and school fees. If she is spotted by forest guards, she earns nothing, and may get beaten or raped.

"When the guards find us with wood, they beat us hard," says Maselech, who is now 10. "If we give them money, they leave us alone. If they get drunk, they try to rape us. We will scream for help, but when we scream in these forests, there is nobody to lend us a hand." (More...)

Gunmen Attack Ethiopian Soldiers In Somalia, Killing 1

KISMAYO, Somalia (AP)--Gunmen attacked Ethiopian soldiers stationed in southern Somalia Thursday, killing one and wounding another with a gunshot to the chest, witnesses said.

The violence broke out in the money exchange market in Kismayo, said Abdullahi Hassan, a money changer. "The gunmen used pistols...They have taken the Ethiopian soldiers' AK-47s," Hassan said.

Earlier this week Ethiopian troops, whose military strength was crucial to helping Somalia's government drive out a radical Islamic militia group, began their withdrawal. It was not clear when the withdrawal would be complete.(More...)

Also see: BBC: Ethiopian soldier dies in Somalia

Somalia government to negotiate with Islamists

Nairobi based Daily Standard newspaper reported on Wednesday that Somalia Prime Minister Ali Mohamed said his government wants Sheik Sharrif and his supporters to participate in the ongoing reconciliation talks.

Premier Gedi made the statement before flying from Nairobi and returning to Mogadishu. "We want all UIC officials and supporters including Sheikh Sharrif to come to Mogadishu for talks in Somalia," he was quoted as saying.(More...)

African leaders to restate support to 2010 World Cup

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 01/25 - African leaders will make a solid commitment to holding the first-ever World Cup on the continent in 2010 in South Africa when they convene here 29 January for their annual summit, a top African Union (AU) official said here Wednesday.

Bience Gawanas, the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, said the African leaders will make a public support for the 2010 World Cup when they also declare 2007 the Year of African Football.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter is due here for the launch of the Year of African Football on Sunday, which will be marked by a ceremonial match between the Ethiopian and South African Under-15 teams. (More...)

Today's Top Stories

-$7.6 Billion Raised For Lebanon
-Russia offers to build India 4 nuclear reactors
-Georgian Sting Seizes Bomb Grade Uranium (A Russian man caught trying to sell nuclear-bomb graded uranium in a plastic bag from his jacket pocket)
-Ford $12.7 Billion Loss in 2006, Largest Annual Loss in its 103-Year History
-Father Kills Daughter; Doubted Virginity
-Actor Whitaker on 'finding' Amin
-Men arrested for murdering "ghost" brides

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

U.S. launches new air strike on Somalia

Also in the news: [Defections continue as political dissent remains a crime in Ethiopia] - [Mortars hit Somalia's international airport] - [Ethiopia to stay in Somalia until AU force arrives, says Meles] - [U.S. ambassador, top Somali Islamist meet] - [Israel health ministry: Ethiopian blood donation will no longer be discarded]- [Kapuscinski writer of "The Emperor" ( a book that critics the last days of Emperor Haile Selassie) dies in Warsaw]

International: [Chad arrests hijacker of Sudanese plane] - [Israeli president to leave post] - [Beirut Recovering After Violent Protests] - [China net use may soon surpass US]- [Obama beats Clinton — in website traffic] and more of today's top stories!

President Bush shakes hands with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi after his State of the Union speech in the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007. AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson.(More...)

U.S. launches new air strike on Somalia

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship has launched a second air strike against suspected al Qaeda operatives in southern Somalia, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified U.S. officials.

No confirmation of Monday's reported attack was immediately available in the region and a Pentagon spokesman declined to comment. The newspaper said there was no information on the results or the specific targets of the strike.

An AC-130 gunship two weeks ago attacked what Washington said were al Qaeda agents fleeing with Islamist forces defeated by Somali government and Ethiopian troops late last month. It was the first overt U.S. action in Somalia since the end of a disastrous peacekeeping mission in 1994. (More...)

Mortars hit Somalia's international airport

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Gunmen launched several mortars at Mogadishu International Airport on Wednesday, killing at least two people and wounding several others, witnesses said.

Abdilkabir Salad, who was at the gate of the airport when the mortars fell, said he saw two corpses. Another witness, Abdi Mohamed, said he saw three injured young men who were hit with shrapnel.

"Two mortars landed inside the airport and the other outside," Mohamed said. "There were three planes on the runway when the attack happened."

The runway was not damaged, said the director of the airport.

The attack comes one day after Ethiopian troops began withdrawing. The intervention of Ethiopia last month prompted a military advance that was a stunning turnaround for Somalia's two-year-old government. Without Ethiopia's tanks and fighter jets, the administration could barely assert control outside one town and couldn't enter the capital, which was ruled by the Council of Islamic Courts.(More...)

Israel health ministry: Ethiopian blood donation will no longer be discarded

The health ministry announced on Wednesday that blood donations would be accepted from anyone born in Israel, including Israeli-born Ethiopians.

Until now, blood donated by Ethiopians was discarded due to concern for disease in light of the alarming incidence of AIDS and HIV in Ethiopia. (More...)

U.S. ambassador, top Somali Islamist meet: official

NAIROBI (Reuters) - U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger has met top Somali Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who is being held by Kenyan intelligence in Nairobi, a U.S. embassy official said on Wednesday.

Ranneberger has said Ahmed potentially can be a player in reconciliation between the interim Somali government and Ahmed's militant Islamist movement, which government troops with Ethiopian backing defeated over the New Year.

Ranneberger has said any Somali who renounces violence and extremism will have a part to play in reconciliation in the Horn of Africa country.

The U.S. official, who confirmed the meeting which a source had told Reuters about earlier, spoke on condition of anonymity and declined to give any details. Ahmed, one of the most visible faces of the defeated Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) during its six-month rule of most of southern Somalia, surrendered at the Kenya-Somalia border.(More...)

Ethiopia to stay in Somalia until AU force arrives, says Meles

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - Ethiopian troops who helped oust Islamist hardliners from Mogadishu will remain in Somalia until the deployment of African Union peacekeepers, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has said.

A first batch of around 200 troops withdrew from the Somali capital on Tuesday but thousands more remain and Meles said no security vacuum would be allowed to develop ahead of the arrival of a proposed 7,600-strong AU stabilisation force.

"We have not based our decision to withdraw on the AU's decision to deploy, but on an agreement with the TFG (transitional Somali government)," Meles told a press conference in Addis Ababa on Wednesday.(More...)

Kapuscinski writer of "The Emperor" ( a book that critics the last days of Emperor Haile Selassie) dies in Warsaw

Ryszard Kapuscinski, a globe-trotting journalist from Poland whose writing, often tinged with magical realism, brought him critical acclaim and a wide international readership, died yesterday in Warsaw. He was 74.

His death, at a hospital, was reported by PAP, the Polish news agency for which he had worked. No cause was given, but he was known to have had cancer.

Mr. Kapuscinski (pronounced ka-poos-CHIN-ski) spent some four decades observing and writing about conflict throughout the developing world. He witnessed 27 coups and revolutions. He spent his working days gathering information for the terse dispatches he sent to PAP, often from places like Ougadougou or Zanzibar.

At night, he worked on longer, descriptive essays with phantasmagoric touches that went far beyond the details of the day’s events, using allegory and metaphors to convey what was happening.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Defections continue as political dissent remains a crime in Ethiopia
-Chad arrests hijacker of Sudanese plane
-Israeli president to leave post
-Beirut Recovering After Violent Protests
-China net use may soon surpass US
-Yorkshire clan linked to Africa (People of African origin have lived in Britain for centuries, according to genetic evidence)
-Obama beats Clinton — in website traffic
-Modern pagans honor Zeus in Athens

Monday, January 22, 2007

Assassins attack commander of Ethiopian troops in central Somalia

Also in the news: [Witnesses: Ethiopian Troops Kill civilians ] - [Key Somali Islamist surrenders in Kenya] - [Kinijit LA: EPRDF’s Attempt to Disseminate It’s Propaganda Failed Miserably] - [Ethiopia's foreign minister meets Somali president in Mogadishu] - [Stand up comedy in Ethiopia]

International: [Clinton or Obama? Supporters conflicted] - [Bombs kill at least 90 people in Iraq] - [Chavez to U.S. Officials: 'Go to Hell'] - [Top dissident iranian cleric slams Ahmadinejad] - [Suspect In $70M Brazil Heist Found Dead] and more of today's top stories!

Ethiopian Police beat and killed activist Tesfaye Tadesse, age 25, after dragging him out of his friends home. Tesfaye's autopsy revealed that he had lost three of his front teeth and one eye due to severe beating. This is believed to be the sixth politically motivated killing in Addis Ababa, by govt. Police in the past week. (More...)

Assassins attack commander of the Ethiopian forces in central Somalia

The commander of the Ethiopian forces in central Somalia has escaped unharmed after unknown militiamen attacked him as he was driving through Dhuso-mareb city, 500km north of the capital Mogadishu. Reports say on Sunday.

Witnesses said unidentified gunmen threw two hand grenades at the colonel’s car but missed the target. One of the bombs defused while the other exploded.

Bashir Abdulahi Nor, one of the security officials in Dhuso-mareb city, the provincial capital of Galgadud region in central Somalia said the attack was aimed to assassinate the colonel.

“The bomb went off as the Ethiopian commander was riding his small luxury car inside the city around 9:20 pm local time but the explosion has caused no casualty and the commander survived,” said Nor. (More...)

Also see; Ethiopian officer escapes assassination in central Somalia

Kinijit LA: EPRDF’s Attempt to Disseminate It’s Propaganda Failed Miserably

The Consular General’s attempt to hold a meeting of selected EPRDF sympathizers in the middle of Little Ethiopia failed a miserable failure. Employees of the office were shocked when hundreds of dedicated voices of democracy awaited them right at the entrance.

The meeting hall was surrounded by security officials from the LAPD. There were more police officers than attendees. The parking lot stood empty, and the few that showed up to attend drove past the venue when they realized they were going to be confronted. The vocal protesters were highly motivated and creative.

In many instances the police officers approached the protesters often to ask on the meaning of “hodam.”The protesters stayed until the end of the meeting to face all 12 attendees.Their embarrassment was clearly visible. (More...)

Witnesses: Ethiopian Troops Kill civilians

MOGADISHU, Ethiopia Jan 22, 2007 (AP)— Ethiopian troops supporting Somalia's fledgling government killed three civilians early Monday, while a top leader of Somalia's Islamic movement turned himself over to authorities in Kenya, a witness and official said.

The troops were firing at several gunmen who were trying to hide in a house in the Hurwa district, said Mustaf Hassan Ali, who witnessed the shooting. He said the victims were not the gunmen but civilians in the home.

"The Ethiopians fired at the civilians when unknown gunmen sought refuge in their house," Ali said.

Ethiopian troops have come under fire frequently in recent days in the Hurwa district, which is considered a hotbed of sympathizers for Somalia's Council of Islamic Courts. The radical group was driven out of the capital and much of southern Somalia last month with the help of powerful troops from neighboring Ethiopia. (More...)

Key Somali Islamist surrenders in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- A top leader of Somalia's ousted Islamic movement seen by the U.S. as a potential key to preventing a widespread insurgency there surrendered to authorities and is under protection in Nairobi, officials said Monday.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, who has been described by a U.S. diplomat as a moderate who could play a role in reconciling Somali factions, crossed into Kenya, went to a police station along the border on Sunday and was flown to Nairobi, according to a police report.

The U.S. said it was not involved in protecting Ahmed, who apparently feared for his life in Somalia, where the remnants of his Council of Islamic Courts are being hunted by Ethiopian troops and Somali government forces.

"The U.S. government is not holding or interrogating Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed and was not involved in his capture or surrender," a U.S. Embassy official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. (More...)

Ethiopia's foreign minister meets Somali president in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU (AFP) - Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin has become the first senior Ethiopian official to travel to Mogadishu since the toppling of its former hardline Islamist rulers as he held talks with top officials.

Seyoum met with interim Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed at the presidential palace Monday, a fortnight after he took up residence at the Villa Somalia, and had other meetings scheduled.

"They discussed bilateral relations, regional security and the current political situation in Somalia," said a senior Somali government official on condition of anonymity.

"The transitional government is grateful to the government and people of Ethiopia for the sacrifices they made in order to make Somalia a peaceful place where no regional religious extremist could organise themselves." (More...)

Stand up comedy in Ethiopia

(capitalEthiopia) “A day without laughter is a day lost”. Could this be our chance to laugh annually? The first of its kind stand up comedy is to be held on January 24, 2007 at the Hilton Hotel. The event is organized by Ethio-Promotion and Entertainment. Eleven comedians have come together to entertain an anticipated seven hundred people.

At a press conference held Thursday, Ato Eyob Alemayehu, manager and owner of Ethio-Promotion and Entertainment says, “previously comedians used to perform as intermissions during music concerts, now this is their stage to be lead actors. And the aim is to give the opportunity for those who don’t have it.

” The comedians’ representatives Fassil Tekalign and Ato Solomon believe the comedians will shine on their special night. It is going to be their stage although well known musicians will share the stage but only to give the comedians a break this time. “We have humor; we all laugh in our day to day activities. We did not get a chance to laugh about it publicly and here is our chance,” says Eyob.

Stand up comedy is a popular western art form. The comedians deliver their jokes to the audience live. If stand up comedy gets acceptance from the public the organizer is planning to make it a regular event. There might be even a chance to produce the live performance on CD.

The comedians are united to work together with the assistance of comedian Fassil. “The criteria in selecting a comedian is that they be funny and make a point at same time,” says Fassil. He also extends his gratitude to all who made the event possible. The comedians are expected to perform their gigs without any rehearsals.

Today's Top Stories

-Identity: Who do you think you are? (A 35-year-old man born and bred in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by Eritrean parents describes who he is)
-Clinton or Obama? Supporters conflicted
-Bush expected to stress energy security
-Bombs kill at least 90 people in Iraq
-Chavez to U.S. Officials: 'Go to Hell'
-Top dissident iranian cleric slams Ahmadinejad
-Suspect In $70M Brazil Heist Found Dead
-'Basic Instinct 2,' 'Little Man' Top Razzie Noms

Friday, January 19, 2007

Another Political activist beaten and killed by the Ethiopian Police

Look for the 'The Week in Review' segment below

Also in the news: [IT’S TIME FOR US TO SAY "THANK YOU!"] - [Ethiopian convoy ambushed in Mogadishu]

Another Political activist beaten and killed by Ethiopian Police

(Ethio-Zagol) Police shot dead a young political dissident on Wednesday at Rufael, one of the northern suburbs of Addis Ababa.

Four federal police officers dragged Tesfaye Tadesse, 25, from his friend's home at 9:45 pm and shot him thrice on his chest and twice on his back. His family found his bullet-straddled body latter.

Tesfaye a notable kinijit organizer at his neighborhood had been arrested in June and November 2005 when EPRDF embarked upon massive crack down of dissent in the country. His friends said security men had repeatedly harassed him after he was released from detention in November.

Tesfaye's autopsy revealed that he had lost three of his front teeth and one eye due to severe beating. The police officers took him to a dark area in the village and beat him, eyewitnesses claimed. "When people living in the village started surrounding the police officers who were beating him, they shot him and drove away," one witness said. (More...)

Alemayehu G. Mariam

Never was so much owed by so many to so few...

How does one thank those who put everything on the line to stand up for justice, truth and the Ethiopian way?

How does one express appreciation to those who left their families, friends, neighbors and country to expose the truth about unspeakable crimes committed against children, and call international attention to the massive human rights abuses committed by Zenawi’s regime?

How does one express admiration to those who left high positions of authority and willingly gave up their professions and livelihoods because telling the truth was far more important to them than any amount of personal gain or advantage?

How does one say thank you to Woldemichael Meshesha, Frehiwot Samuel, Mitiku Teshome, and Alemayehu Zemedkun? (More...)

Ethiopian convoy ambushed in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Unidentified gunmen ambushed a convoy of Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu Saturday morning, leaving four bystanders dead and three wounded, just hours after government troops repelled an attack on the Somali president's palace.

The gunmen fired light machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at the convoy, but missed. The Ethiopian troops responded with heavy weapons, killing a man and a woman on the side of the road, said Hawa Malin, a resident who witnessed the ambush.

Two other people who were wounded died on the way to the hospital, medical officials said. "The Ethiopians shot me," said Ali Kheyre Mumin, one of the wounded. "They shot at me and the others indiscriminately ... they shot everybody who was moving around."

The attack adds to fears that Islamic militiamen, defeated in conventional fighting earlier this month, have begun an insurrection against the internationally backed government. (More...)

The Week in Review

  • Monday - January 15, 2007

  • [Implementing lessons from Ethiopia's EPRDF: somalia shuts down independent Radio and TV Stations] - [Deadly clashes in Mogadishu as Ethiopia seeks African help] - [EACA: Georgetown University Insulting Dr Martin Luther King's Dream] - [Ethiopians risk life and limb across desert and sea to make Gucci bags] - [(NPR) Bole2Harlem: Hearing Ethiopia in New York]

  • Tuesday - January 16, 2007

  • [Local administration asks Somalia govt to remove Ethiopian troops from capital] - [Kennedy Center Ceremony marred by protesters] - [Qaliti Qalkidan update and letter from qaliti prison] - [Mogadishu Residents Refuse to Give Up Guns to Ethiopians] - [Somalia reverses broadcaster ban] - [revised itinerary of the Inquiry commission’s west cost tour]

  • Wednesday - January 17, 2007

  • [New U.N. leader to visit Addis] - [Police Violence in the Streets of Addis] - [Siye Abraha's closing statement] - [U.N. eyes more cuts in Eritrea-Ethiopia peace force] - [Islamist Fighters Captured Fleeing Somalia] - [Clan Divisions Threaten Somalia Government] - [Al Amoudi to build new resort at Bawadi]

  • Thursday - January 18, 2007

  • [Slums of Addis: where globalization seems far away] - [US plans more raids in Somalia] - [Anti-US backlash in Somalia limited, threat remains] - [Top U.N. Envoy Flies to Somali Capital for peace force talks] - [US slams Somali speaker's sacking]

  • Friday - January 19, 2007

  • [Mortars hit Somali presidential palace as Gunmen attack] - [Timket celebrators fill streets of Addis; calls for release of prisoners of conscience reported] - [Conflict in the Horn of Africa: The streets of Mogadishu] - [African Union to deploy peacekeepers ]

Timket celebrators fill streets of Addis; calls for release of prisoners of conscience reported

Also in the news: [Mortars hit Somali presidential palace as Gunmen attack] - [Conflict in the Horn of Africa: The streets of Mogadishu] - [African Union to deploy peacekeepers ]

International: [White House Confirms Chinese Anti-Satellite Weapon Test] - [U.S. forces arrest aide to cleric al-Sadr] - [Killer winds rip into eastern Europe] - [Colbert and O'Reilly visit each others shows] and more of today's top stories!

Timket is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany and includes a special commemoration of Jesus Christ's baptism by John the Baptist - where Holy water is sprayed on worshipers.

Orthodox worshipers are sprayed with holy water during the annual Timkat festival, at 'Jan Meda,' a park in the centre of the capital Addis Ababa January 19, 2007. REUTERS/Andrew Heavens

Ethiopian Orthodox deacons pray during religious celebrations in Addis Ababa.(AFP/Marco Longari)

Mortars hit Somali presidential palace as Gunmen attack

MOGADISHU, Somalia (January 19, 2007 Friday) - Government troops battled gunmen who attacked the Somali president's palace in central Mogadishu Friday night, spreading panic around the capital.

The attackers fired three mortars into the presidential compound and then engaged guards in a 30-minute firefight, residents said. The president and prime minister were in Mogadishu, but their whereabouts were unclear and government officials did not immediately answer their phones.

Khadra Dahir Osman, who lives next to the presidential compound, which occupies a hill overlooking Mogadishu, said he fled to his brother's home, panic-stricken.

The internationally recognized government — with key military backing from Ethiopia — had managed to drive an Islamic movement that had challenged it for power out of Mogadishu and much of the rest of southern Somalia. But the potential for violence remains great because of clan rivalries, resentment of the government's Ethiopian backers and a threat of guerrilla war from remnants of the Islamic movement.(More...)

Also see: BBC: Gunfire at Somali leader's home

Orthodox Epiphany (Timket) fills streets of Ethiopia capital

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - A sea of faithful resplendently dressed in white have filled the streets of the Ethiopian capital to celebrate the annual Epiphany, or the baptism of Jesus Christ.

Jubilant crowds from Addis Ababa's 13 Orthodox Churches descended on city streets for the religious ritual, locally known as "Timkat", marked on the 11th day of the fifth month in accordance with the Orthodox calender.

Children, adorned in the national red, orange and green colours, walked alongside white-veiled adults as they belted out hymns and beat drums. The priests from the hexagonal churches and the monks and nuns wore their most ornate robes and habits.(More...)

EZ: Protestors call for the release of political prisoners

A crowd of young people celebrating the Holy Epiphany denounced EPRDF's rule. The protestors shouted slogans, which called for the release of Kinijit leaders and other political prisoners in front of the palace. A few demonstrators were heard chanting, "Woyane is thief!" as palace guards watch them alertly.

The celebrations were low key this year with thousands of people preferring to stay at home, opposing the political partisanship of the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. (Source)

Conflict in the Horn of Africa: The streets of Mogadishu

After a brief taste of stability under the Islamic Courts, a new conflict is spreading. Steve Bloomfield reports from the city where civil war has become a way of life

January 19, 2007 - Standing amid a pile of rubble on a Mogadishu street corner two young men, faces covered by red scarves, loaded their rocket propelled grenade launchers. Three spare grenades and an AK-47 were slung over their backs.

By their feet lay a box containing a remote-controlled mine similar to the improvised explosive devices that have proved so deadly to British and American soldiers in Iraq. A second pair of similarly armed men stood at another junction 200 yards down the road; two further pairs were stationed nearby.

Watching the fighters take up position in the Black Sea area of southern Mogadishu, 37-year-old tea shop owner, Nuuro Mohammed Diirive, called for a "resistance" to drive Ethiopian troops out.

"Somalia has been confiscated by Ethiopia," she said, waving her arm in anger. "We are not free people. We are under the colonial master. We must find an army to resist them."

Mrs Diirive, a mother of seven, said Somalis should be prepared to lay down their lives to defeat Ethiopia. "We will use suicide bombing. Maybe my children will do that."

The same pattern was occurring across the battle scarred Somali capital yesterday afternoon. In the north of the city 10 masked men stood outside a mosque waving their AK-47s in the air and chanting "Allahu akbar".(More...)

African Union to deploy peacekeepers

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - The African Union's top security body authorized the deployment of more than 7,600 peacekeepers to war-torn Somalia that officials said would begin immediately.

The AU's Peace and Security Commission decided to send nine battalions of 850 troops each to Somalia for an initial period of six months beginning Friday, a statement released after their meeting here said.

The initial deployment will be one-third that number, the AU said.

The aim of the mission, to be known as AMISOM (the African Mission to Somalia), would be to "facilitate humanitarian operations in Somalia and consolidate peace and stability in Somalia," it said.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-White House Confirms Chinese Anti-Satellite Weapon Test
-U.S. forces arrest aide to cleric al-Sadr
-N. Korea: 'Agreement' Reached With U.S.
-Killer winds rip into eastern Europe
-Oprah Winfrey named the richest woman in entertainment
-Colbert and O'Reilly (Stephen Colbert and Bill O'Reilly visit each others shows for the first time)....[video]

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Slums of Addis: where globalization seems far away

Also in the news: [US plans more raids in Somalia] - [Anti-US backlash in Somalia limited, threat remains] - [Top U.N. Envoy Flies to Somali Capital for peace force talks] - [US slams Somali speaker's sacking]

International: [Israel hands Abbas frozen funds] - [Iraq Announces Crackdown On Mahdi Army] - [Canada Chuckles at 'Little Mosque on the Prairie'] - [boy dies copying Saddam Hussein's hanging] and more of today's top stories!

The ousted speaker of Somalia's parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, said on Thursday the impoverished east African nation risked sliding into dictatorship and accused President Abdullahi Yusuf of seeking to rule by force and fear. (More...)

Great Ethiopian Run Video:

US plans more raids in Somalia

Mogadishu - US operations in Somalia will go on until key al-Qaeda targets are eliminated, a Pentagon official says, as debate sharpens over Washington's next move in the stricken nation.

The remarks followed last week's assault in Somalia using a fearsome CH-130 fixed-wing aircraft which US officials say killed at least eight people, described by Washington as radicals sheltering al-Qaeda's top Africa leadership.

The fact that the top members of Osama bin Laden's network are still presumed at large in the country is sparking speculation of possible follow-up operations and questions on whether Somalia will become the latest hot battlefront in the "war on terror". (More...)

Slums of Addis: where globalization seems far away

ADDIS ABABA -- Wubit Shiferaw blanches at the smell from the open latrine pit that passes underneath her feet in her Addis Ababa slum dwelling and declares: "The conditions are simply just unbearable."

As tens of thousands of activists gather in the capital of neighboring Kenya this weekend for the World Social Forum, they are hoping to turn the spotlight on the plight of people like the Shiferaw family who have been left behind by globalization.

While living standards in the West and emerging Asian powerhouses such as China and India continue to improve in the twenty-first century, feeble growth rates in much of Africa have mired most of the continent's residents in abject poverty.

In Ethiopia, a recent survey found that 80 percent of the country's urban population live in slums that fail to meet basic sanitary benchmarks.

The nongovernmental organization Action Professionals' Association for the People (APAP) found the overwhelming majority of housing units in towns and cities were poorly constructed and four-fifths were made out of mud and wood.

More than 40 percent have no more than one room while 42 percent lacked toilets and 39 percent were without kitchens. Wubit, who has been living in the Kera district of Addis Ababa for the last 18 years, has little expectation of an upturn in the future.(More...)

Anti-US backlash in Somalia limited, threat remains

NAIROBI, Jan 18 (Reuters) - A U.S. air strike on Somalia this month sparked widespread condemnation and predictions it would both worsen violence inside the country and hurt U.S. interests across east Africa. But though the threat remains, the limited nature of the Jan. 8 raid may have contained the backlash, analysts say.

Washington said the attack by an AC-130 plane firing a battery of cannons, America's first overt action inside the chaotic country since a disastrous humanitarian mission ended in 1994, targeted only al Qaeda suspects. It rejected reports of civilian casualties and firmly denied any further raids.

"If it was a one-time event, I don't think it will have a major impact but will disappear quickly if there is no more engagement in Somalia," said David Shinn, a former U.S. envoy in the region.

When defeated Islamists were pushed into a remote southern corner of Somalia by Ethiopian and Somali government forces, apparently forcing al Qaeda agents among them to break cover, Washington jumped at the chance of a decisive hit. "The opportunity to do a short, sharp strike was at its prime -- that is why the Americans went for that," a Western diplomat said. "The strike threw a bit of fuel on the fire ... (but) the Americans have just been able to get away with it." (More...)

Top U.N. Envoy Flies to Somali Capital for peace force talks

Jan 18, 2007 — A top U.N. envoy on Thursday stressed the need to protect Somalia's government so Ethiopian troops can pull out without leaving the country vulnerable to remnants of the ousted Islamic movement.

Francois Lonseny Fall, the Secretary General's special representative to Somalia, met with President Abdullahi Yusuf for the first time in the capital, where Somali troops took over last month with the help of Ethiopian troops.

"To see the president in Villa Somalia (the official residence of Somali presidents) is a very important step. We have to move step by step and we need all efforts to get this country rebuilt," Fall said before his closed-door talks with Yusuf.

Emerging 30 minutes later, Fall said that now that the government was installed in Mogadishu, "we need to protect them and also facilitate the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops. This is what everyone expects." (More...)

US slams Somali speaker's sacking

Senior US diplomat Jendayi Frazer has criticised a move by Somalia's parliament to sack its speaker. Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan was removed for having unauthorised talks with the Islamists, who controlled much of southern Somalia until last month.

He also opposed Ethiopia's intervention to help drive the Islamists out. Ms Frazer said that a spirit of reconciliation was needed in Somalia, and the no-confidence motion was likely to have a negative impact on dialogue.

Last week, the US launched air strikes in the far south of Somalia against the routed Islamist group, who they accuse of harbouring al-Qaeda members suspected of bombing US embassies in East Africa and a 2002 attack on Israeli targets in Kenya.(More...)

Today's Top Stories

-Revenge: A Dish Best Served with Civility (carpediemethiopia)
-Somali viewpoints (How life in Mogadishu has changed since the Islamists were ousted)
-Israel hands Abbas frozen funds
-Iraq Announces Crackdown On Mahdi Army
-Pressure mounts on Olmert to resign
-Canada Chuckles at 'Little Mosque on the Prairie'
-Mirror, mirror on the wall, is this dress for me?
-boy dies copying Saddam Hussein's hanging

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New U.N. leader to visit Addis

Also in the news: [Police Violence in the Streets of Addis] - [Siye Abraha's closing statement] - [U.N. eyes more cuts in Eritrea-Ethiopia peace force] - [Islamist Fighters Captured Fleeing Somalia] - [Clan Divisions Threaten Somalia Government] - [Al Amoudi to build new resort at Bawadi]

International: [Sudan says U.S. troops raided its embassy in Iraq] - [Bush won't reauthorize eavesdropping program] - [Israel's military chief offers to resign over Lebanon war] - [Defense team of Saddam honoured in Libya] and more of today's top stories!

The scientists who mind the Doomsday Clock moved it two minutes closer to midnight on Wednesday -- symbolizing the annihilation of civilization and adding the perils of global warming for the first time. (More...)

-[Audio] Public Radio: Ethiopia’s Quagmire in Somalia (Ken Menkhaus—Associate Professor, Political Science, Davidson College; Former U.N. Policy Advisor on Somalia)

- [Audio] Public Radio: The Efforts of Ethiopia and the U.S. in Somalia (Ahmed Samartar—Dean, Institute for Global Citizenship, Macalester College)

- Siye Abraha's closing statement -


Meles Zenawi hails Kadhafi`s peace efforts in Somalia

Tripoli, Libya, 01/17 - Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi has commended Libyan leader Mouammar Kadhafi for his sustained efforts towards peace, political and social reconciliation in Africa, and particularly in Somalia.

This was expressed Tuesday in Tripoli by visiting Ethiopian foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin, during a meeting with his Libyan counterpart Abderrahmane Chalgham to whom he handed a message from Zenawi to Col Kadhafi.

Mesfin said the Ethiopian prime minister and people had great respect for the Libyan leader for the efforts he has deployed to reinforce unity and stability in the African continent.

During the meeting, Mesfin reaffirmed his country`s willingness to withdraw its forces from Somalia as quickly as possible, noting that Ethiopia intends to withdraw its troops in weeks but would like to leave behind a state of national reconciliation and to help Somalis rebuild their country.(More...)

U.N. eyes more cuts in Eritrea-Ethiopia peace force

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council, frustrated by the long-stalled peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea, is leaning toward more cutbacks in the peacekeeping force monitoring their shared border, diplomats said on Tuesday.

Most members of the 15-nation council support cutting the force to 1,700 from its current 2,300, although some African states worry that too few peacekeepers could risk a new flare-up in the 1998-2000 border war between the Horn of Africa neighbors that killed 70,000 people, the diplomats said.

The council in May 2006 trimmed the peacekeeping force to 2,300 troops from 3,300. U.N. troops were first sent to Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2000 to enforce the ceasefire ending their border conflict. As part of the peace agreement, both countries pledged to accept a new border as set out by an international commission.

But the new border has never been marked out after Ethiopia rejected part of it and Eritrea objected that Ethiopia was not being held to its word, leading to a four-year impasse. (More...)

Lewit Blog: Police Violence in the Streets of Addis

Yesterday while coming home from work I passed a group of policemen standing in a semi-circle. Though they were dressed in the tan uniforms of the local police, it was obvious by their guns and boots that they were actually federal security forces.

In the middle was a man who looked to be in his late-twenties, on his knees with his arms tied behind his back. His nose was bleeding and it was obvious that he had been beaten.

There must have been at least 6 or 7 of them. Before the traffic started up again, I saw the man look around in confusion and then flop over in the dirt on his side while the policeman moved closer--to close the cirlce, and, I assume, to block such crimes from the view of passing cars. Then they started kicking him.(More...)

Islamist Fighters Captured Fleeing Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Jan. 17 — Somali Islamist fighters, possibly including some top leaders, were arrested as they tried to escape across the border into Kenya, Kenyan authorities said today. The arrests raised the possibility of a sticky asylum issue.“We have detained a number of people, but we are still trying to determine their identities,” said Alfred Mutua, spokesman for the Kenyan government.

According to Somali officials, one of the Somalis captured by Kenyan soldiers may be Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the second in command of the defeated Islamist Court Union forces.

Gen. Ismail Qasim Naji of the Somali transitional government said that Sheikh Sharif’s briefcase was recently discovered at a jungle hideout in southwestern Somalia.

“It had some important documents in it,” General Naji said at a press conference in Mogadishu, Somalia’s seaside capital. When a reporter asked what they were, the general replied, “Top secret.”

Ethiopian-led troops routed the Islamist forces that controlled most of Somalia, including the capital, last month after the Islamists mounted an attack on Baidoa, the seat of the country’s transitional government. (More...)

Al Amoudi to build new resort at Bawadi

Dubai: Al Amoudi, a diversified business group, said it will develop an Ottoman Palace Hotel and Resort at Bawadi, the Dh100 billion hospitality and tourism boulevard near Dubailand.

The company yesterday signed an agreement with Bawadi to create the resort that will replicate the 16th and 17th century era. The agreement confirming the partnership was signed between Saeed Al Muntafiq, chief executive of Tatweer, Bawadi's parent entity and Shaikh Mohammad Al Amoudi, chairman of Golden Leaves Hotels and Resorts Ltd at the Bawadi offices in Dubai.

Al Muntafiq said: "Shaikh Mohammad Al Amoudi represents the best of private sector entrepreneurship and is proof of much of what is happening in African development.(More...)

New U.N. leader to visit Addis

(CapitalEthiopia) The new U.N. Secretary-General Mr.Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he will attend an African Union summit in Ethiopia and a meeting on Lebanese reconstruction on his first major trips abroad, reflecting his intention to prioritize Africa and the Middle East.

The AU summit in Addis Ababa scheduled for January 29th to 30th will address three of the world's most visible hot spots - the Darfur region of Sudan, Somalia, and the Congo. "Africa will be the focus of many of my priorities, and my first major trip will reflect that focus," Ban Ki-moon told a news conference.

On his way to Africa, Ban will stop in Paris to attend an international donors' conference on January25 focused on the reconstruction in Lebanon following a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in the summer. He said he wanted to "inject new momentum into the search for peace and stability in the Middle East."

The focus of much of the AU summit will be the four-year-old conflict in Darfur in which more than 200,000 people have died.

"It is particularly important that we succeed in putting a strong, well resourced force on the ground," he said, alluding to the widespread belief that the 7,000-strong AU force currently patrolling the region is too small and ill-quipped to adequately protect civilians.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has repeatedly refused, most recently on Wednesday, to allow U.N. peacekeeping troops to replace the beleaguered African force, saying any international force would be "colonialist."

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